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Private eyes spy on exam cheats

Education Ministry may call in detective agencies to catch internet fraudsters before baccalauréat exams

PRIVATE detectives may be called in to try to catch any internet cheats before this year's baccalauréat exams.

The Ministry of Education is already on guard after last year's fraud when one of the questions in the maths exam was leaked on to a games website.

The exam was being sat by 160,000 students across France and was eventually marked minus that question.

Now the ministry aims to nip problems in the bud and has set out a new code of ethics, a guide to providing exam security and a new ad-hoc disciplinary commission.

However, newspaper L'Express says it has been given information that the ministry is looking at bringing in private detective agencies to carry out web surveillance in the weeks running up to the exam.

It will track usages of words such as baccalauréat and divulgation [disclosure] - but a plan to search for key phrases from the exam has been rejected as not being secure.

A new exam disciplinary procedure was approved just before the presidential election and published in the Journal Officiel.

It comes into force on June 1 and creates a new Academic Discipline Commission of seven people named by the local education authority. They will include a university professor to lead the inquiry, two schools inspectors, an exam board head, a teacher, a student and a final-year pupil.

Parent groups, teaching and students' unions had called for the reform to be abandoned.

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